COLUMBIA, S.C. — Junior tight end Hayden Hurst is one of the top options in the South Carolina football team’s passing game.
The former professional baseball player is second among the Gamecocks pass catchers with 19 receptions for 297 yards and third with 2 touchdown catches. He’s also rushed 4 times for 14 yards and a touchdown.
But it seems as if Hurst should have more statistics through the first seven games in 2017. He didn’t have a catch against Tennessee. In fact, his only touch against the Volunteers came late in the second half, when he took a handoff from Jake Bentley for a 4-yard gain.
“We tried to get him the ball a couple of times [Saturday],” coach Will Muschamp said. “[Tennessee] did a good job of taking him away. … Banging him around on some routes, they did a nice job. We had some things dialed up, we just couldn’t get it to him.
“As a matter of fact, [offensive coordinator Kurt Roper] called a speed-sweep, just to get him the ball. We’ve got to continue to find ways to get him the ball.”
SEC Country has an unofficial count of the number of times Hurst was thrown to in six of the first seven games of the season, Texas A&M being the lone omission. In each of those six outings, Hurst has been the second- or third-most targeted player in the South Carolina passing game.
Below is a game-by-game log of his targets and where that figure ranked among other Gamecocks during each contest:
- N.C. State: 4 (T-3)
- Missouri: 6 (T-2)
- Kentucky: 5 (3)
- Louisiana Tech: 4 (3)
- Arkansas: 4 (2)
- Tennessee: 1 (N/A)
Below is a game-by-game look at Hurst’s stats this season:
- N.C. State: 1 catch, -2 yards
- Missouri: 3 catches, 69 yards, 1TD; 1 carry, 2 yards, 1 TD
- Kentucky: 4 catches, 39 yards
- Louisiana Tech: 3 catches, 39 yards
- Texas A&M: 6 catches, 76 yards
- Arkansas: 2 catches, 76 yards, 1 TD; 2 carries, 12 yards
- Tennessee: 0 catches, 0 yards; 1 carry, 4 yards
Hurst is second on South Carolina’s all-time list in career receptions by a tight end (75) and third in career receiving yards by a tight end (1,019). With 4 more catches, he’ll set the school’s all-time record reception record by a tight end.
Here’s to believing Roper will make sure that record is broken against Vanderbilt, when South Carolina returns from the bye week.